In the latest episode of NBC’s ‘Dracula’, our vampire antihero finally walks in sunlight. Thankfully, he doesn’t sparkle when he does so, or that would have been the end of my involvement with the show.
As you’ll recall, Prof. Van Helsing had developed a solar serum, but a vampire (being dead) could not circulate it through its entire body, leaving too much exposed. After an experiment with restarting a test subject’s heart proved insufficient, the good doctor has developed a new solution, in which a scary device with a lot of very large needles will essentially pressure-blast the serum into the body to saturate the tissue with all the subtlety of a fire hose. Dracula insists that the process be tested on himself immediately.
The Order of the Dragon has finally noticed that Alexander Grayson conducts all his business at night, and suspects that he may be a vampire. Lady Jayne, who’s been boffing Grayson regularly, expresses skepticism. “I would have noticed if the man were nosferatu,” she insists. You might thinks so, but apparently not so much. Browning (the evil guy with the goatee) announces his plan to flush out the beast. He will call a stockholder meeting for British Imperial Coolant, which Grayson will be required to attend in his role as majority shareholder, and hold it in the middle of the day in a solarium fully exposed to daylight. Pretty devious. He also warns Jayne that, should Grayson indeed prove to be a vampire, her incompetence will face dire consequences.
Fortunately for Dracula (and for Jayne, though she’s unaware of it), the new cure works… for a while. He successfully struts into the meeting and makes a big show of his appearance. After a few minutes of getting the point across, Renfield (now on the mend from his torture) then conveniently calls him away on urgent business just as the serum wears off. Dracula gets out of there just before his nemeses see his skin start to burn.
- Lady Jayne has noticed that Lucy is in love with Mina. She has a meeting with the girl in which she claims that this is a perfectly natural part of any young woman’s development, and that in fact Mina probably feels the same way about her. She encourages Lucy to express her feelings, knowing full well that this will actually drive the two girls apart. Indeed, Mina throws Lucy out – less for being a lesbian than for deceiving her and attempting to undermine her relationship with Harker. My question here is what is Jayne’s game plan for manipulating this split? Is this just to punish Mina for tempting Grayson?
- Not only does Mina not share Lucy’s Sapphic urges, she even offers herself to Harker – premaritally. Scandalous!
- As the next step in his master plan, Dracula needs to take over the Empire and Colonial Metallurgy company, which is owned by a man named Ewan Telford III. Telford has no interest in selling, but he has a serious gambling problem. Dracula, as Grayson, pretends to be very bad at poker in a ruse to clean him out.
- When a 15th Century painting known as the “Dresden Triptych” goes up for auction, Dracula instructs Renfield to secure it at all costs. The Order takes note of his interest in the item, but we don’t hear any more about it in this episode. Could Dracula be one of the subjects depicted in the painting? If so, is he worried that someone will recognize his immortality?
- Mina goes snooping in Van Helsing’s secret lab, and discovers a substance (vampire blood, I assume) that can reanimate dead cells. Van Helsing catches her and feeds her a line of bullshit that she misunderstood what she saw. He very nearly has to kill her to keep his secret, until she appears to buy his story and let it go. Later, we learn that Mina actually believes Van Helsing is hiding something.
- As part of his investigation of the corrupt General Shaw, Harker has one of his journalist friends run a story exposing the man. Grayson pretends to be furious at Harker for playing his hand publicly in this way when he had previously ordered Harker to let the matter go, but we quickly realize that he’s really pleased by it.
- Harker’s efforts to hide his involvement with the story prove futile when a threatening Lord Davenport confronts him about it. Davenport gives Harker a ticket to a performance of Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ with the suggestion that he had better attend if he knows what’s good for him. A confused Harker goes, and discovers that the inside source who’d fed him all the details of Shaw’s deal-making is in fact an actress. He has been deceived. By episode’s end, it’s revealed (unsurprisingly) that the man behind the deception was Dracula, who ties up some of his loose ends by feeding on the woman – thus also healing his burn wounds.
I enjoy all the Machiavellian plotting in the show’s narrative. It adds something rather unique and interesting to the Dracula mythos, beyond just the usual murder and monsters and doomed romanticism – all of which the series also provides plenty of.
Although not officially a “fall finale,” episode ‘Of Monsters and Men’ marks the show’s final appearance in 2013. It’ll take the rest of December off, with a scheduled return date of January 3rd… assuming that NBC doesn’t decide to cancel it in the meantime.